A real meal in Italy is an evolution of tastes and colors reflected in the order and structure of the dishes themselves. Each dish is presented thoughtfully and expected to be savored individually– therefore it is given its own plate and flatware and served with appropriate wine, of course. Nothing is rushed. There is a natural pause between dishes.
To complement the meal, the table itself is dressed with great care in layers that satisfy both the physical comfort and aesthetic interest. There must be adequate elbow room but not too much distance between guests for the ease of conversation. Candlelight, elegant floral centerpieces or more unusual compositions such as objects d’art or collectibles and superb table linens that drape softly to the floor all enhance the sheer joy of sharing time together at the table.
Italy is wonderful in this particular way. Meals facilitate meaningful time together. And so it is at a well-dressed table, where you can settle in for a time, and see what unfolds.